Do you have an eagle eye for spotting spelling or grammar errors? If you answered “yes”, then you may want to consider becoming a proofreader. As a freelance proofreder, you can get paid for your word skills. If you want to work from home, keep reading to learn how to become a proofreader, even if you have no experience.
With over a billion websites in existence today, it’s no surprise that proofreaders are in high demand, especially for bloggers and online businesses. If you enjoy reading and are good at catching grammatical mistakes, then working from home as a freelance proofreader can be a great opportunity for you.
As an online proofreader, you are the last set of eyes to look at a piece of copy before it goes live to the public. This means you take content that other people have written and proofread it with a fine-tooth comb.
One of the best parts about making money as a proofreader is that you can set your own hours and work from anywhere that has an internet connection. All you need is your computer or laptop to get started.
Does proofreading sound like a good fit for you? Sometimes it can be intimidating to start something new.
Fortunately you don’t have to go through the process alone. Today I’m sharing some helpful tips to help you learn the skills you need to become a proofreader.
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What does a proofreader do?
Proofreading is the final stage of the writing process. This is where you’ll look for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
For example, a proofreader will notice the “their” when it should be “they’re”. The goal is to ensure that content is free of errors before it goes out to the public.
Many people confuse editing and proofreading. But they are actually two very different things. Editing happens BEFORE proofreading.
It’s the process of reordering and organizing content. This may involve deleting chunks of material or making the copy flow and read better.
As an online proofreader, you’ll be checking works for errors and mistakes, such as:
- Spelling mistakes or missing punctuation
- Typos and grammar errors
- Inconsistencies in the work’s style or layout
- Awkward page breaks
- Other issues that might ruin the reader’s experience
Online proofreaders can proof any type of written content, such as novels, children’s books, blog posts, legal documents, transcripts, resumes, magazines, newspapers, websites pages, textbooks, and so on.
It takes a certain “eagle eye” to be good at proofreading, but the gig can be very rewarding.
FREE Proofreading Workshop:
What qualifications do you need to become a proofreader?
The good news is that you don’t have to have a college degree or proofreader certification to make money as a proofreader. Having a degree related to writing can be helpful, but it’s not always necessary.
Caitlin Pyle, the mastermind behind Proofread Anywhere recommends having these skills if you want to be a successful freelance proofreader:
✓ Having a knack for spotting grammar errors and typos. This can certainly be learned, however if you have a natural ability to spot errors, this can help you succeed as a proofreader.
✓ You must be attentive. A good proofreader can focus on the details and notice errors when reading through a project.
✓ You must be willing to do your own research. When proofreading, if you come across a word that you’re not familiar with, it’s important to do your own research instead of sending it back to the client saying you don’t understand it. Use Google to help you out. Caitlin offers two proofreading courses and says her students love the supportive Facebook groups where they can ask questions and get feedback.
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How much money does a proofreader make?
According to Salary.com, the average proofreader salary in the USA is $54,192 as of December 2021. The range typically falls between $47,00 and $61,000+.
With that said, proofreaders with more experience or expertise can command even higher fees. The amount of money you make will depend on your experience, skills, education, and so on.
In 2014, Caitlin earned $43,000 in her first year as a freelance proofreader. She only worked an average of 20-25 hours a week.
While this salary won’t make you a millionaire, you can make enough money to help pay off debt faster or add more freedom to your life. Plus, as you begin to gain more experience, you can quickly increase your rates!
Is proofreading a good side hustle?
Yes, proofreading can be an excellent side hustle. The demand for proofreaders have been increasing steadily in recent years.
Working as a proofreader can have a number of life-changing benefits. Many people are looking to become a stay-at-home mom or dad, but still want to find a way to make money for their family too. Working from home as a proofreader might be the perfect opportunity for you.
If you learn how to become a proofreader, you’ll get to have:
✓ MORE FREEDOM – Escape your 9-5 job, work with who you want, work when you want, work where you want.
✓ MORE FINANCIAL SECURITY – You can earn enough money to stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay off debt faster, afford to travel more, save more money.
✓ MORE FLEXIBILITY – Create your own schedule, work when it’s best for you.
FREE Workshop for Beginners:
Do I need to be certified to become a proofreader?
No! You don’t need a proofreader certifcation to start applying to online proofreading jobs.
With that said, to become a freelance proofreader without an English degree, it’s important to have the following skills so you can stand out from the competition.
You must love to read
Yes, this is a no-brainer. But if you’re serious about making money as a proofreader, you have to love reading. Working as a proofreader often involves a lot of reading and re-reading of material. This is because you want to make sure you catch any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes.
You must have a good command of the English language
While you don’t need to have a degree in English to become a successful proofreader, it’s important to have a good command of the language. This is because you’ll need to recognize bad grammar or catch basic spelling mistakes.
You must have good time-management skills
Working from home can have a number of benefits, but it’s also easy to get distracted. Whether you choose to work from your kitchen table or at a local cafe, having good time management skills is essential.
The best way to develop good time management skills is to create a schedule for yourself to follow. This can help build structure to your day when working from home. Dedicate a set amount of hours that you want to work on a project so you can meet deadlines.
How do I become a proofreader with no experience?
While you can find entry level proofreading jobs without having any experience, there are a few things that can help you to get ahead.
Caitlin Pyle, the creator of Proofread Anywhere, says that these are the 5 things that successful freelance proofreaders do to get hired, even if they don’t have a degree:
1. Successful proofreaders find a niche
Now that you know what a proofreader does, the next step is to figure out which niche would fit your skillset.
Fortunately there is a never ending stream of new content and print today, which is good news for proofreaders. When you choose a proofreading niche, this can help you position yourself as an expert in that industry.
Proofreaders that target a specific niche or niches can often command more money, depending on the industry. Some popular proofreading niches include:
- Blog posts
- Website pages
- Court reports
- Legal documents
- User manuals
2. Successful proofreaders are always learning
While it’s great to be passionate about your niche, unfortunately it’s not enough — otherwise everyone would become a proofreader.
To become a high-earner proofreader, you must master your skills. This means it’s important to practice your skills daily. Read anything you can — blog posts, newspapers, books — and keep an eye out for errors, typos, or any formating inconsistencies.
3. Successful proofreaders aren’t afraid to promote themselves
Caitlin recommends diversifying your marketing. This means find where your target customer is and promote yourself.
You can create a website to market yourself (here’s an in-depth guide) or get to know how to use LinkedIn. Get creative with your marketing strategy and don’t be afraid to be werid.
4. Successful proofreaders answer emails fast
If you take days or weeks to respond to emails, think about what message that sends to your potential clients.
It tends to make clients think you’re not being attentive to them, so why should they expect you to be attentive to their work?
Responding to emails prompty is part of providing good customer service. It’s especially important in niche industries with strict deadlines.
5. Successful proofreaders never give up
No one is perfect and yes, we all make mistakes. This is common when starting any type of freelance business or career.
Each mistake or setback can teach us a lesson. It’s what action you take from those new experiences that can help build your true character and become the successful proofreader that you want to be.
Are there any classes I can take to help me get started as a proofreader?
While formal training isn’t necessary to get started as a proofreader, brushing up on your skills can definitely help you stand out from the crowd.
My friend Caitlin over at Proofread Anywhere is one of the most talented online proofreaders out there. As a former freelance proofreader, she has compiled all of her knowledge into a comprehensive proofreading course: General Proofreading: Theory & Practice™.
She’ll teach you the basics of proofreading to make sure you’re a word-skills superstar! After you’ve mastered these skills, Caitlin will show you how to turn this newfound knowledge into a thriving and profitable business.
You’ll walk away from this course knowing exactly how to find clients, structure your work day, and run a successful proofreading business. Sounds like high-value stuff, right?
Almost all of her course graduates have incredible success stories and have found freelance proofreading jobs. This can be the perfect opportunity for someone with word-skills who’s looking to start working for themselves.
Below are some of her students sharing their exciment and success in the private Facebook mastermind group.
Caitlin’s course has been featured in everything, including Business Insider, Forbes, and popular online blogs.
Still not sure if General Proofreading is right for you?
I can appreciate if you’re not quite ready to jump headfirst into this. I mean, this course can certainly help you excel as a freelance proofreader, but perhaps you still have some questions.
For example, maybe you’re thinking, “This is something I would love…but since I have no experience, how can I just become a proofreader?”
How do you go from knowing nothing about proofreading to winning over clients and making money?
It’s funny because Caitlin had the same thought as you!
Most online courses don’t teach the part where you actually go out into the real world and apply what you’ve learn. This is what makes Caitlin’s Proofreading course so valuable – because half of the course is dedicated to helping you find proofreader jobs or managing your own freelance business.
That’s why many of Caitlin’s course graduates have been so successful. In the past five years, she has taught over 9,000 students in her course!
When you enroll in her course, you’ll gain the skills needed to succeed as a proofreader, PLUS you’ll learn how to make money from your skills and create a profitable business.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. I recommend checking out Caitlin’s free workshop (details below).
FREE Proofreading Workshop
Caitlin has put together a FREE Workshop where she will share:
• What a successful proofreader does (and doesn’t do)
• Information about proofreading as a profession – including one great place to find paid work.
• How to elevate your skills to become a GREAT proofreader.
• Plus, a FREE tutorial on how to use the most popular proofreading tool on the market so you can learn how to find clients.
Her workshop is completely free to join. You can sign up here.
Freelance Proofreading Success Story
I was impressed by Alicia’s story, who made $1,100 the first month after she completed Caitlin’s proofreading course. The impressive part is that she earned this money while still working full-time at her retail banking job!
She didn’t have a degree in English or writing (her degree was in accounting). She used her daily commute to proofread and earn extra money.
It took her just three weeks to find her first client and made $1,100 during her first month. She took advantage of that wasted time on her commute to increase her income. Did I mention she also has two kids?
With the right training and hard work, you too can make some good money with just a few clients. Proofreading is not for everyone, but if you have an “eagle eye” for words, this can be a great fit for you.
Ready to begin your proofreading career? Start by accessing Caitlin’s FREE Workshop here.